World’s oldest creature may hold key to longevity


Bangor: British scientists have found a 400 year-old clam, believed to be the world’s longest-living animal, off the coast of Iceland.

The scientists, from Bangor University in Wales, say that the discovery of the quahog clam, aged between 405 and 410 years old, might allow them to get a better understanding of the ageing process, as well as revealing the secrets of long life.

The creature was nicknamed Ming, after the dynasty which ruled China at the beginning of its life.

“When this animal was a juvenile, King James I replaced Queen Elizabeth I as English monarch, Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays – Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth – and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for espousing the view that the Sun rather than the Earth was the centre of the universe,” they say in a press release.

The scientists calculated the age of the animal by counting annual growth rings on the shell, a technology similar to that used when estimating a tree’s age.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, before Ming, the longest-lived animal was a clam found in 1982, aged 220.